The sporting week ahead (23/01/11)

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The Independent Online


West Bromwich go to Blackburn, who are managed by somebody we've never heard of and owned by a chicken firm. Football, eh? Bloody hell.


The Aussie Open tennis rumbles on. We've either lost interest completely now (i.e. Andy is out) or it's Murray mania, as newspaper editors prepare to publish 48-page pull-outs.


The excitement may come off the pitch as there is a tax evasion court hearing for Harry Redknapp. On the field, Arsenal and Ipswich play their Carling Cup semi-final second leg and there is a potential Premier League cracker between Blackpool and Man United.


If I was Avram Grant (it was said I was a dead ringer at the Hallowe'en fancy dress party), I would start picking myself. He was an attacking midfielder (we trust Wikipedia implicitly) and, let's face it, he can't do much worse than Luis Boa Morte. The Hammers horror show moves to Birmingham tonight for the second leg of their Carling Cup semi-final. Meanwhile, it's the funeral and thanksgiving service for the great Nat Lofthouse in Bolton – he is sure to be spinning in his grave over events at Upton Park.


If you're not too busy taking pop bottles back for your 20p refund, you could maybe take in rugby league's launch of the Northern Rail Cup in Halifax. Or maybe stick pins in your eyes?


Barry Hearn's one-frame snooker shoot-out goes to the Circus Arena inside Blackpool Tower. Expect the white ball to explode if you take too long over a shot, while a monkey runs off with the rest and Ronnie O'Sullivan eats all the chalk – again!


FA Cup fourth-round day, but not many humdingers around. Southampton versus Man United is decent but Everton vs Chelsea is just another Prem game. Stevenage are home to Reading – expect their punchy fans to lay out all 11 players if they get through this one.